bok globule

6

Ask Ethan: Is this actually a hole in the Universe?

“What do you do about people and entities who actively harm the amount of knowledge that the general populace has in the world? After all, the opposite of knowledge isn’t ignorance, but rather misinformation posing as knowledge.”

There are plenty of scientific myths that go around, including many that were generated recently by so-called science communicators that actively harm public knowledge. One of them was a now-famous image of a dark nebula silhouetted against a star field, claiming that this was a hole in the Universe a billion light years across with no matter in it. Not only is the image itself a completely different picture – that of a tiny molecular gas cloud just 500 light years away – but the study that led to the conclusion of a “hole in the Universe” has that as only one of many possible interpretations. Far more likely is that we’re simply looking at a large, underdense region that’s well within the range of what’s normal and expected for our Universe.

Go get the full story on this week’s Ask Ethan!

flickr

Rosette Nebula - Bok Globules by Steve Martin
Via Flickr:
Bok Globules are pockets of dark cosmic dust and gas, usually containing new born protostars, on their way to becoming fully fledged main sequence stars. The Bok Globules here are being created by the interstellar wind and radiation being blasted by the open cluster NGC2244 at the centre of the nebula. Date: 26 Oct 2015 Mount: AP Mach 1 Imaging scope: AT8RC CCDT67 1080mm Imaging camera: Trius SX-694 Lights: Ha 6 x 1200 sec 2x2 OIII 6 x 1200 sec 2x2 SII 4 x 1200 2x2 Calibration: 50 Flats, 100 Bias each Guide scope: OAG Lodestar Other details: Captured with SGP, guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop